KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan today said that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is committed to amending Article 145 of the Federal Constitution to separate the powers of the attorney general (AG) and the public prosecutor, despite the idea being mooted by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.
“I want to state this is the latest update today. Today, a meeting was held between the AG, solicitor-general, solicitor-general (II) and the head of the prosecution unit in the Attorney General’s Chambers(AGC) to finalise the ‘memorandum jemaah menteri’ (MJM) and to also submit the Bill to amend Article 145.
“Meaning the government today is very serious about enforcing this matter, and it will be brought to Cabinet this year,” Takiyuddin said.
He was responding to an additional question by Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who had asked about the government’s readiness to amend the said Article, claiming that many feel the country’s judiciary is being used for political prosecution.
Khalid said that PH would also fully support the government when it tables the amendment Bill in Parliament, as a two-thirds majority would be needed to pass it.
Tanjong Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar then posed an additional question, asking if the government would reconsider the appointment of private lawyers for some cases, adding that this casts doubt on the credibility of prosecutors in the AGC.
Noh cited former Federal Court judge, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, as an example, lamenting conflict of interest.
He also called for the practice to be dropped immediately.
However, Takiyuddin pointed out that this is permitted under the law, with the appointment powers vested in the AG.
“I want to say that appointing lawyers as prosecutors is one based on the law,” he said, adding that the Federal Constitution already contains such a provision, and that the AG may appoint anyone he sees fit to handle certain cases.